AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2017 QF – European strong starters stifled

China dashed the hopes of their English and Danish opponents who started off strongly and in their estimation were indeed thorny propositions. By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent live in Sydney. […]

China dashed the hopes of their English and Danish opponents who started off strongly and in their estimation were indeed thorny propositions.

By Aaron Wong, Badzine Correspondent live in Sydney. Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Mixed doubles: Weapons matching her character

Gambits are begun in mixed doubles with the woman standing in the front of the man serving. That’s where the similarity ended between Huang Dongping / Wang Yilyu and Chris and Gabrielle Adcock (photo). Of all the leading pairs, the English play the most traditional style of this discipline and their recent innovations are apparent.

Chris Adcock was no less captivating and full of zest than in yesterday’s Korean victory. All his efforts building up rallies in the first game were executed expertly, apart from the last strikes of the last two points flying long. Gabrielle Adcock’s increased astuteness at the net, willingness to stay longer fortifying the rear court using added bite on smashes, or driving flat returns has replaced the habit of drop shots followed by escaping forward at every opportunity observed at last year’s Australian. She is now equipped with fuller artillery that’s of a character matching her feisty mentality.

In short, her pro-activeness has superseded reactiveness everywhere on court but eventually the equilibrium formation of the English husband and wife follows tradition and this resumes sooner than other pairs. They have kept what’s taken them this far and appended bits of contemporary mixed and look like a brand new pair.

The transformation may not take the Adcocks higher up the rankings but helps them keep pace with the times, which is what you want in the second year of the big shake up of mixed doubles.

Even though the Chinese won 22-20, 21-15, the English performances and racquet skills up to and including the quarters have been commendable.

Their male opponent Wang Yilyu agreed: “Our preparation worked very well for this match. I think the English pair have their own distinct advantages and vulnerability is quite obvious as well. As long as we follow the strategy worked out beforehand, we should be able to win.

“We knew Gabby was poor at serving but she’s been doing some training about it and we can definitely feel that.”

Men’s singles: C’est bon

The French Open champion beating the champion who beat the Hong Kong Open champion was one of the paths to the semi-finals in men’s singles.

Defending champion Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (photo) executed the same gloriously sharp and unreachable cross-court half smashes and smooth cross court net shots that won him last year’s final against Jeon Hyeok Jin to take an authoritative and significant early lead against fourth seed Shi Yuqi (photo) of China.  French Open champion Shi managed to turn the tables, though, by remembering to stand up for his own character, 21-17, 21-12.

“It was a high quality match and each of us is good at different things. My rival’s speed is very fast and I find this type of player pretty difficult to handle,” said Shi after the win.

“I wasn’t perfectly confident of doing it, at the same time I shouldn’t be afraid of him. ‘Just be yourself  and do what you’re good at’ I told myself when it became close in the first game.”

Shi assessed his own quality on the men’s singles scene as “only in the middle range of all top competitors so I have to pay very close attention inside matches.”

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Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @